The Uncanny Valley

Notes on art, culture and preservation

Notes from an expat

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Plaza de Mayo, with the Casa Rosada (presidential palace) in the background

I came to Buenos Aires two weeks ago because I could. I had no knowledge of the culture here before my arrival, except for what I was able to glean from talking to a few native Argentines and past visitors, reading guidebooks and the stories of Borges, listening to Piazzolla’s greatest hits and watching a few Ricardo Darin films. All of which was good preparation, I suppose — but nothing can really prepare you for surviving in the culture until you go there and experience it for yourself. And, so far, I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’m making progress. For one thing, I found an apartment to share with a pair of Argentine students instead of one with fellow expats, resulting in a near-total immersion in Spanish. At the same time, I’ve been in touch with travelers like myself, people who are looking to stay in Buenos Aires or venture around South America for a few months, and of course I have my own audience over the web to communicate with in my home language. So I’m in both worlds, and careful not to let one overwhelm the other — but hey, the more Spanish practice, the better.

My first intention was to stay here for a few months, maybe three at the most, but for now I have no definite plans. Finding a steady job would do much to ensure that I can stay longer, and that’s basically where I’m at now, trying to build up a network. In the meantime, the postings here will likely be a mixture of the usual observations on the world of art along with day-to-day reflections on being abroad.

Example: there is no television in my apartment, so I didn’t catch the Oscars (which aired here in the wee hours Monday morning), but I was relieved to hear that Avatar didn’t win Best Picture, interesting and stimulating though it was. In fact, most people here are still celebrating over El secreto de sus ojos, which is the next Darin film on my must-see list.

So there: I still got it.

Thanks to everyone for their wishes and concerns. I know everyone must automatically assume I’m having the time of my life down here, that Buenos Aires is a blast, so let me just be clear about this so that there’s no confusion about how things are going:

I am having the time of my life down here.

Buenos Aires is a blast.

Happy reading…or as they say, ¬°Buena lectura!

Written by cwmote

March 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm

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